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Gladwell's books have a similar structure and generate similar controversies: pick a big idea, illustrate it with lots of quirky case studies focused on human stories, produce a best seller and watch the critics pull part the accuracy of many points. Yet even after the critical battering, there's often some interesting and relevant ideas left at the heart of his books, though ones it's a good idea to read up about from others too before applying them yourself.

David & Goliath fits that mould perfectly, except that this time the big idea is a little less striking - as the famous story in the title reveals, the basic idea that the underdog can win out is hardly new (even if, as Gladwell argues, the version of David & Goliath we are all used to hearing is flawed).

A fun breezy read to get you thinking, rather than a detailed case built on evidence.
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on 24 March 2017
Love books of Malcolm Gladwell. This wasn't the best of his that I've read, but nevertheless, still fascinating insights into people and how they tick.
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on 23 June 2017
As with Gladwell's previous books, David and Golliath is enjoyable to read with vivid examples and detailed descriptions. Analysis and arguments are not too deep but they don't have to be. I think the book accomplishes its goal.
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on 18 August 2015
This book is a nice reminder of how to see what might be perceived weakness as the strengths they are. There's something very powerful in this idea and this book engages with it in a lively and thought provoking way.
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on 4 April 2017
arrived all good
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on 29 May 2017
Disappointing compared to his previous work
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on 28 November 2014
Fantastic read
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on 25 May 2014
Gladwell has a formula: he picks a grand thesis - in this case that what are ordinarily perceived of as disadvantages might not be wholly negative - and then carefully arranges around it anecdotes of such simple humanity that one is forced, between dabbing the tears away and spontaneous rounds of applause, to swallow the damn thing whole.

There's a circle of scientific hell set aside for those who build their theses from anecdotes and artfully chosen evidence. However, people love anecdotes and when skilfully done it can bamboozle the critical faculties of the audience like a well rehearsed magic trick. The problem is, in David and Goliath, the patter seems a bit more forced, Gladwell fluffs the shuffle and we can, quite clearly, see a dove's head poking out of his sleeve and cooing insistently.

The anecdotes drag out a bit too long, to the extent that you start to wonder not only what the point is, but whether there's a point at all. Sometimes the point is separated so distantly from the anecdote that a quick flick back through the book is necessary. When that happens, the author has lost control and the effect falls to pieces. Gladwell relies so heavily on effect rather than a coherent argument that if we don't buy into it completely, we don't buy into it at all.

That's not to say that there's nothing in the book worth reading. There are some excellent paradoxical nuggets of insight and he still has a knack for taking something familiar - like the story of David and Goliath, which opens the book - and giving you a whole new way of looking at it. He also has a collection of stories about people that are fascinating in their own right.

So, yes, there are high points scattered through the book, but the whole seems half finished as if he didn't have the time to properly gather his thoughts together before committing them to the printer.
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on 2 November 2015
Another good read from Malcolm Gladwell again. Some intriguing points though it does feel, as with other books, he is finding facts to fit his theories and not the other way around.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 January 2014
“David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell is not only what its name is suggesting - the book about how small can beat big, those that are considered to be less capable those who are the stars – but also a book that convinces the reader that there are no unbridgeable obstacles, and strange nature of our advantages and disadvantages that can easily become its opposite.

Malcolm Gladwell is an excellent writer who knows how to tell a story and although much of what he says is known he manages to entertain and intrigue readers to the extent that we don’t even notice we are walking the trodden track.

The author starts with the premise that the advantages are invented term - we are taught to see some ability or characteristic as good or beneficial, trying to gather or obtain it as much as possible in order to feel more capable and valuable not thinking that at some point what we consider the advantage (such as earning large amounts of money) at some point can become our nightmare since we became the target of thieves, our lives became more public and we don’t have the ability to be what we are, but what all others expect from us that we are.

He continues with another lesson that some disadvantage may eventually become our advantage, either in a way that is commonly called positive discrimination - for example when you are born with some disability you’ll receive in many things a right of priority - or unusual statistical regularity that people who suffer from medical conditions such as dyslexia are still becoming successful because their condition forced them to develop their other abilities to compensate reading problems that eventually led them to be successful.

He also reviews the situation that many famous and successful people throughout history and even today grew up without one parent what is considered a big handicap and the reason why young person will not grow into a fully emotionally developed person. Still what can be seen is that these persons become emotionally stronger individuals because they suffered such a heavy loss in youth and therefore much earlier harden and become ready for an intense game of life in which they are able to achieve better results.

As you can see from these few examples, the author presents the somewhat controversial topics, or the way he treats them, but his writing skills are undeniable and his conclusions are presented in a meaningful and compelling way.

With “David and Goliath” Malcolm Gladwell succeeded to make reader rethink about the nature of terms advantages and disadvantages; his book is not without flaws, far from it, but you will not believe how quickly and easily, with enjoyment, you will read its three hundred pages.
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